New Zealand has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. More than a third of Pacific families (35%) have a cat compared to half of Maori families and despite an increase in de-sexing cats since 2011 some families still need to de-sex their feline family members.
We Pacific people are fond of our pets / animal companions, whether dogs, cats or bats. We even have folk songs dedicated to them – the Samoan song ‘pusi nofo’ tells of a cat being told to sit on a mat and/or catch some mice.
But when it comes to the upkeep of animal companions, Pacific families could do better.
Cats in particular are often left to roam and even breed freely. Some families have been known to feed leftovers to stray cats, but not take them on as our own, leaving them to roam the neighbourhood.
Thankfully, there has been an increase in de-sexing cats since 2011, from 86% to 93%.
The National Cat Management Strategy Group (NCMSG) estimates that there are 196,000 stray cats in New Zealand, with estimates for feral cats exceeding 10 million.
The most common reason for owners not de-sexing cats is cost, leaving them to continue to breed in the wild, all the while contributing to New Zealand’s cat control problem.
With councils being asked to provide better cat management, SPCA Auckland is working with local vets to offer free de-sexing for cats from 13 – 24 March 2017 in the following suburbs:
- Glen Innes
- Mt Roskill
- Mt Wellington